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Amazon India wants customers to try its products in retail stores

Furthering its battle against its ecommerce rivals in India, Amazon has cut a deal with clothing chain Shopper’s Stop to set up Amazon Experience Centers at the brand’s stores, where people can try out products from the Seattle giant’s catalog.

Amazon has a few of its own brands in India, including Solimo, which offers cookware and home furnishing, Symbol, a men’s fashion label, and the global brand AmazonBasics, which covers numerous categories from travel and tech accessories to pet gear.

While it didn’t specify what it planned to showcase in retail stores in its statement to Bloomberg, it’s likely that these products will feature first in the new Experience Centers.

The deal will see Amazon invest $28 million for a 5 percent stake in Shopper’s Stop’s business; that company runs 80 stores across India and will set up Experience Centers in all of them shortly, and there are plans to add 20 more stores over the next four years. Additionally, Amazon will begin selling Shopper’s Stop clothing in its online store – the firm says it has roughly 400 brands in its catalog.

With that, Amazon is closer to matching its biggest Indian rival Flipkart; the $7-8 billion incumbent, which acquired fashion megastore Myntra (and by extension, clothing retailer Jabong as well), launched offline stores for its own apparel label Roadster earlier this year.

With Flipkart’s total capitalization now higher than the $5 billion commitment that Amazon made for its India operations, both companies are clearly looking to fight to the death to rule the online shopping roost in one of the fastest-growing markets on the planet.

Brb, making popcorn.